Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

MD Anderson now offers gamma knife radiosurgery to treat difficult tumors in the head and neck area. Gamma Knife provides accurate tumor targeting with a single dose of radiation, freeing patients from multiple radiation treatments and allowing them to return to a normal routine within a few days of treatment. 

Gamma Knife MachineThe Lexsell Gamma Knife® PERFEXIONTM system, manufactured by Sweden-based Elekta, is a fully automated radiosurgery system. Using high-resolution images from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans, a computer automatically calculates the exact dose to be administered by 192 individual radiation beams. The resulting treatment plan allows radiosurgeons to focus high-dose radiation along the exact dimensions of the tumor, while sparing delicate structures surrounding the treatment area. 

The size of the radiation beams can be adjusted to as small as four millimeters in diameter to reach small tumors. The automation allows both radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons to treat multiple lesions in a single procedure. 

The Gamma Knife system is proving to be ideal for areas that cannot be reached by surgery. Patients who cannot tolerate surgery or who have had previous radiation therapy to the brain may also be candidates for Gamma Knife. For these reasons Gamma Knife is often offered as frontline therapy for certain patients with cancers to the brain, head and neck.

Gamma knife surgery is best for: 

  • Cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the brain, head or neck area
  • Tumors in the base of the skull
  • Malignant gliomas
  • Acoustic neuromas
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Meningiomas

MD Anderson's Gamma Knife service is one of four in the Houston area to be named a Center of Excellence by the International Radiosurgery Association.

For more information on gamma knife surgery or for patient referral, please contact Patient Access Specialist Cindy Alma Carroll, RN at (713) 563-4978.